Create your own light-up name badge in minutes with this simple STEAM activity.
This simple activity teaches kids about optics, circuits, and art. You start with a blank piece of acrylic and slowly etch your name or design on it. Once finished you add in an LED and whatever you've etched lights up. This process is typically called "edge-lit acrylic" and you can often find it being used for fancy Exit or shop display signs.
The kits come with all the parts needed; acrylic blanks, safety pins, batteries, LEDs, and dot stickers. You will need to provide your own dry erase markers, or something similar, to complete this project.
We find that students ages 10 and up tend to have no problem making this project. Whenever possible limit names to 4 or 5 letters, as longer names tend to wear out the person etching them. We always tell students that they can use a short version of their name, their initials, or a nickname if they don't want to use their full name. The project takes between 10-15 minutes to complete. Batteries will power the LED for days and can easily be replaced by pulling back the stickers.
Since their kit uses coin cell batteries and sharp safety pins adult supervision is recommended. Kids under 10 should not be left alone with the batteries as they can cause serious medical issues if swallowed.
Directions, Lesson Plans, and Videos
Printable directions and a step by step video can be found on Brown Dog Gadgets' online Project Database.
If you have access to your own laser cutter or CNC router, the design files are available for download. Use your machines to etch in your digital files and designs.